Neymar made a rallying call to Paris Saint-Germain ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash with Manchester City, saying he was ready to ‘die on the pitch’.
PSG slipped to a 2-1 defeat in last week’s first leg at Parc des Princes, with Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez toppling Marquinhos’ opener.
An impressive opening to the competition from Mauricio Pochettino’s side calmed down, with City exercising almost complete control over the proceedings after the interval.
Neymar cut an increasingly isolated figure, while his attacking partner Kylian Mbappe did not attempt a single shot after starting a game for the first time in his Champions League career.
The world’s most expensive player is aware of the big task ahead at the Etihad Stadium, although he hasn’t given up on hope that last season’s beaten finalists will return to the centerpiece.
“We have a very difficult game against Manchester City, but we have to believe it regardless of the stats or our percentage of chances of winning,” Neymar told PSG’s internal channel.
“I think every Parisian should believe in us. I will be the first to do so.
“I’m on the front line and I’ll be the first warrior to fight for the team.
“I will give the best of myself and I will do everything I can to qualify, no matter what.
– Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 3, 2021
With a chuckle, he added: “Even though I have to die in the field.”
The statistics Neymar alludes to are certainly not a comfortable read for those who are persuaded of PSG.
There have been 47 previous cases of English clubs winning the Champions League or European Cup first leg away from home. Each time, they have progressed.
City have won each of their last six Champions League games and have 10 out of 11 wins this season, with a goalless draw at Porto being the only flaw. A seventh win would overtake Pep Guardiola’s men ahead of Manchester United (1965-66), Leeds United (1969-70) and Arsenal (2005) as the English record holders for the longest winning streak in the premier club tournament. ‘Europe.
PSG have played for City four times in European competitions and have yet to beat the Manchester squad.